The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Peer review manual ready

New Delhi, Feb. 22: The peer review board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is ready with the voluminous peer review manual which has laid down mandatory training schedules for the reviewers.

The peer review board, which will have an independent secretariat, has also spelt out that information given to the board will not be passed to any other department in the institute, said Sunil Bhargava, chairman of the peer review board.

“All the peer reviewers will have to go in for mandatory training in the nature of a workshop. Training for peer reviewers is not prevalent, even abroad, but we are setting a precedent here,” said Bhargava, who has been recently re-elected as the chairman of ICAI's peer review board. The board was first formed last year.

Experts from abroad are also being roped in to train the peer reviewers. The board has already drawn up a panel of 150 member as reviewers, which will be further shortlisted to 50, according to ICAI president, R.Bupathy.

The peer review board, which was recently re-constituted, has extended its membership to a few new members, including representatives of the ministry of finance (banking), and to the chairman of the University Grants Commission. The board consists of 11 members and seven extended members.

A peer review is to be done by a single reviewer along with a qualified assistant. “It will take usually about seven days to carry out a review,” Bhargava said. The fees, to be paid by the practising units, will vary according to the amount of work that is required, he added.

The peer review board, which will be operational from April 1, will begin with central statutory auditors of banks belonging to public sector, private sector, foreign banks, public financial institutions, as also central statutory auditors of the central and state PSUs and insurance companies.

It will also include auditors of companies with a paid-up capital of over Rs 5 crore and an annual turnover of more than Rs 50 crore. Beginning with the bigger audit firms, peer review will move on to smaller ones in the second and third stages, beginning in year 2004 and 2005 respectively.

Practice units are selected on a random sample basis, from among the various categories of firms that are eligible during each of the phases of the implementation of the peer review board.

“Highest priority in the peer review system is placed on the independence, transparency, global compliance and the hallmark of excellence which factors in technical expertise and conduct,” said Bhargava.

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